Direct from Toronto’s Polaris Convention and just in time for this evening’s return of TRUE BLOOD, HBO’s deliciously addictive vampire series (that as it turns out, is a about a whole lot more than just blood suckers) comes this TV Addict’s new interview with Michelle Forbes, who plays the mysterious Maryann Forrester.
The TV Addict: Earlier in your career, it was widely reported that you turned down a series regular role on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE because you didn’t wish to commit to a series regular role on television at that point in your career. Why the change of heart with TRUE BLOOD?
Michelle Forbes: Alan Ball [TRUE BLOOD’s creator]. He’s such a wonderful man to work for and I don’t think I’ve ever run into anyone who is not a fan of his. And, after DURHAM COUNTY and IN TREATMENT, I really wanted to do something light and fun. And while TRUE BLOOD is a very technically difficult show and there is a lot of depth to it, it’s illegal how much fun we’re having on the show. Which for me, was really important, to go and do something that was fun for a bloody change as supposed to being tortured all the time. Even though I was tortured on the show by having to face a few fears.
Would one of those fears have been TRUE BLOOD’s penchant for onscreen nudity?
Not really. I actually think we [as a culture] need to stop being so prudish about nudity and start being more european because it’s just nudity. For me what’s so great about being part of the TRUE BLOOD company, and I mean the entire company, the writers, the production team and definitely the actors is that it is the most fearless group of people that you will ever work with. Everybody’s just game for anything, everyone’s looking for that next challenge and when you’re surrounded by such courage, boldness and fearlessness, if you don’t join in, well… you just look like a stick in the mud. And I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say there are quite a few orgies on the show, and once you’re in the middle of the woods with a sea of naked people, it really becomes… just drinking coffee and chatting with the actors. Really no big deal.
Although we’re slowly learning what exactly Maryann is, we’re still waiting to find out what brings her to Bon Temps? Care to elaborate?
Is that not good television? When we don’t know quite yet! It’s really revealed over the season, as is so much about the show. If last year we were introduced to this very interesting and fascinating little town in Louisiana, this second year, the story blows open and sort of spins off into these little hurricane stories where Bill and Sookie go off to Dallas, you’ve got the Fellowship of the Sun story-line and then we have what’s still happening in Bon Temps with Maryanne and the crowd at Merlotte’s. It gets very insane this year [laughs].
There has been a lot of speculation online with regards to your character’s statue, can you elaborate as to its meaning?
The statue actually has enormous meaning as the season goes on. There has been a lot of interest about that statue and the Brooklyn Museum (which is where they [the creative team] found that statue and replicated it) have been inundated with people wanting to know about the statue, the history of it. So it’s really wonderful in a show that seems to be about vampires and what have you has now garnered this conversation about Greek mythology, ancient art and thoughts of injustice. That statue has a lot of meaning as we head like a train on fire throughout the rest of the season.
Do you have a theory as to why TRUE BLOOD seems to have made its way into the cultural zeitgeist?
My theory is that we’ve (America) been through eight years of nonsense and hell with the Bush administration — when our economy is just in utter chaos, people are out of work, and we’re stuck still in the middle of an endless war — there is something refreshing about being able to watch something that is fun and escapist. Plus, because it’s Allan Ball and our wonderful writers, the show still serves as a beautiful place for social commentary looking at injustice and compassion. Like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, it’s never preachy about it, the show doesn’t tell you how to feel — rather it raises the questions and it does so in a small sleepy Louisiana town that is very diverse.
Plus: Lots of sexy people running around with no clothes on. Can’t beat that right?